- Ernst Merck Halle
More from year 1966
Jun 26, 1966
Jun 26, 1966
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On this day, The Beatles travelled from Essen to Hamburg, by night and by train, arriving shortly after 6 am. They hadn’t been to Hamburg since January 1, 1963, following their third and final residency at the Star-Club. They performed two concerts at the Ernst Merck Halle, the first one at 3 pm, and the second one at 7 pm, and held a press conference between the sets. Also appearing on the bill were Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers, The Rattles, and Peter and Gordon.
Before the second concert, they met with old friends from their Hamburg Days, including Astrid Kirchherr, who photographed The Beatles during their Hamburg days, Bettina Derlien, who was a barmaid at the Star Club and was John Lennon’s girlfriend for a while, Icke Braun, Kathia Berger and Bert Kampfaert, who hired the Beatles to back Tony Sheridan on “My Bonnie” in 1961.
After the second concert, it is believed that John Lennon and Paul McCartney paid a nostalgic visit to the Reeperbahn.
Inevitably, on our nostalgic 1966 return to the scenes of their professional adolescence, everyone partied far into the night, heedless of the longest of days that lay ahead. At midnight John and Paul were strolling down the notorious Reeperbahn with a boisterous entourage of old buddies, pals and mates. The night was yet young.From “John, Paul, George, Ringo & me” by Tony Barrow, 2005
The Beatles left Germany the following day.
Also, backstage, Paul McCartney and John Lennon were presented with a new musical instrument, a Tubon strap-on keyboard.
Kathia Berger said that Bert Kaempfert brought it with him, however it was Frank Dostal of the German Band the Faces that brought it. His band had won a Beat Band contest in Feb. 1966 at the Star Club. The winning prize was a guitar from George Harrison’s collection signed by all four Beatles (recently it has been discovered that the autographs are Neil Aspinall signatures and not really from the Beatles themselves).
From Telekom Electronic Beats:
You’d think there would come a day when we would run out of weird electronic instruments to show you. […]
The newest instrument to upend us is the Joh Mustad “Tubon”, a battery-powered, comically large tubular keytar designed in 1966 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Looking more like a oversized inflatable microphone, the Tubon preceded the keytar boom by nearly a decade. Primarily designed as a bass instrument, it was monophonic and boasted six preset sounds: tuba, contrabass, electric bass, saxophone, bass and woodwind.
While the instrument was primarily used by folk bands from Sweden (see above for a “good” example of that), the Tubon did find its way into the hands of some pretty prominent musicians: namely, The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter. Apparently, the original score for “Strawberry Fields Forever” includes a Tubon intro which was ultimately replaced by a Chamberlin on the final recording. […]
Neil Aspinall, Road Manager to The Beatles, continues his account of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s most recent German tour and their journey on a specially chartered train.
FROM Essen we travelled on the special train, through the night, towards Hamburg. After our lavish four-course dinner, we all tried to think of new names for the L.P.
By two in the morning George had gone off for a sleep and the rest of us — me, Paul, Ringo, Brian Epstein plus Peter and Gordon — had gathered round the table for a concentrated game of cards. John wasn’t in the mood to play so he sat and watched — coming up with further album titles from time to time.
“You’re beginning to lose your voice,” said Ringo suddenly. “I’m not… am I?” replied John. “I’ve been smoking too long today. Still, my throat does seem a bit funny.”
“I’ll see if they’ve got any honey,” I said. On any other train the honey might have presented a catering problem. But three minutes later John was soothing his throat with honey mixed into warm lemon juice.
At 5.30 a.m. we found a huge crowd waiting to greet the boys outside the station. Another, even larger, crowd of Hamburg fans gathered round the gates of the Tremsbunel Schloss Hotel, twenty miles to the North of the city. From seven until noon everyone slept.
Just after midday John called my room. “It’s worse,” he began. “My voice has gone.” I could hear from the husky croaking that this was no joke. In three hours’ time John and the others were due to face an afternoon concert crowd of six thousand in Hamburg’s Ernst Merck Halle. Something much more potent than honey and lemon was needed. We got hold of a local doctor who gave John a shot of calcium. It worked like magic. Within ninety minutes John’s voice was fine again and we settled down to a belated breakfast in the impressively furnished surroundings of the Tremsbuttel Schloss.
“That’s a fabulous tapestry,” commented John, looking at a massive and probably very valuable old hanging which covered half of one wall. “I’d like to wrap it up and take it home!”
Beatle dressing-rooms often get busy, but Hamburg was more like a railway station! Of course there were dozens of old friends dropping in all through the afternoon and evening. For the boys it was a night to get together again with a lot of the people they’d known best — four, five and six years ago when most of their work was in the clubs of Hamburg.
GIRLS they had known at the Star Club turned up to say “Hi!” and exchange news. Astrid, the lovely blonde girl who was once engaged to Stu Sutcliffe, came along with Gibby (who went over to Germany when Paddy, Klaus and Gibson folded up as a group last May). A photographer brought in a pile of 1960 photographs which showed John and George on stage at the Top Ten Club. Another visitor was Bert Kaempfert, composer of Strangers In The Night, who produced the boys’ earliest Hamburg recording sessions.
And just to complete the evening, a German group called The Faces brought The Beatles a gift of a new Swedish bass instrument — a fantastic cylindrical object with an electric keyboard which fascinated Paul at once!From Fabulous208 – January 14, 1967
[…] The Hamburg concerts, rounding off the tour, were at the city’s Ernst Marck Halle, and the Beatles met many old friends backstage – including Astrid, former girlfriend of Stu Sutcliffe, the Beatle who died in Hamburg, Bettina who used to know the group in the Star Club days, Gibson of Paddy, Klaus and Gibson, the British group that recently split up, Liverpool singer Lee Curtle who works mainly in Germany now – and composer Bert Kampfaert and his wife who called to see the boys and watch the show.
Trouble flared inside and outside the Halle. Inside, there were wild scenes and the usual handling of fans by attendants. The Beatles party too ran into trouble whenever they had to move about the hall.
Outside the hall, hundreds of fans who couldn’t get in for the concerts fought the police with tear gas, believed to have been stolen, and marched about the city chanting slogans and swinging clubs. Running battles with the police sent passers-by fleeing and the police were forced to quell the trouble-makers with hoser.
There was a sense of danger in the city. After the concert had ended and the Beatles had raced off in their limousine back to their country hotel, there were many incidents until late in the evening.
Did the Beatles go to the Star Club like everyone expected? No one knows for sure. “We haven’t planned to,” said George when I asked him during the show. “But I can’t see us getting out of this town without going.” […]From Melody Maker – July 2, 1966
[…] Between concerts they suffered another insane press conference, answering questions like, “John, how about Ringo?” (to which Lennon replied, “I think you’re soft”). One irked woman reporter asked, “Beatles, why are you such horrid snobbies?” (to which George replied that they weren’t and that it was all in her mind). Then Paul made a little speech about how they believed in answering questions directly even if it made them unpopular. And he got a round of applause.
Then they retired to the dressing room, where the small collection of friends was waiting before the second show. I asked John about a local story that The Beatles had been “arrested” by the police on a previous visit for attempting to set fire to a club where they were appearing. He said, “That one’s got a bit twisted. We set fire to this, well this, little thing on stage and the club owner – who wanted to get us banned because we had told him we weren’t going to play there any more but were moving to the Star Club – called the police.”
Paul nodded in agreement. Then Ringo announced. “Come on chaps, let’s go and do another rock ‘n’ roll show,” in his best send-up voice.
After the show they were whisked straight back io Tremsbuttel, where invitation after invitation for them to attend a variety of parties – including one specially staged by a count at his castle in the forest – were declined. But the saddest message of all was wired on The Beatles’ behalf to Manfred Weissleder at the Star Club. It said, “Sorry we can’t make it tonight.” And in his office overlooking the Grosse Freiheit, Manfred shook his head and said, “It’s a pity, they never missed a night before…”From New Musical Express – July 1, 1966
[…] Backstage at the Merck Halle in Hamburg it was just like a reunion. Bettina was there, and so was an old girlfriend of Paul’s named Cattia. Gibson Kempe arrived with his girlfriend Astrid, who was once the girlfriend of Stu Sutcliffe — she was greeted by all four Beatles with great warmth and affection. Bert Kaempfert popped in with his wife, and as he entered the room John sang the opening line of “Strangers In The Night”.
As you can imagine, Hamburg held an extra something for both the Beatles and the people who came to see them, and as usual they went down fantastically with just that extra something.
After two very exhausting shows and a press conference it was back to the hotel for a quiet evening with just a couple of friends and not as everyone had anticipated an evening at the Star Club — for reasons which I think are quite obvious. And so the Beatles’ return to Germany ended.From The Beatles Monthly Book – August 1966
BEATLES FANS USE TEAR GAS
Thousands of rioting Beatle fans last night turned the heart of Hamburg into a battlefield as they broke windows, threw tear gas bombs and caused traffic chaos.
Police reinforcements with dogs and loudspeakers barricaded streets round the hall where the British pop group was performing as ticketless fans roamed the city centre. Appeals for the teenagers to clear the streets were met with a chorus of yells and police began drenching them with water cannon. Fans replied with tear gas bombs and police moved in with dogs and truncheons to disperse them. During the riot teenagers broke tramcar windows and brought traffic to a standstill as they tore down trolley wire contacts.
An official said 40 were arrested. A spokesman later said police had taken possession of one of the tear gas bombs. “It is about the size of a pocket torch battery. We are still trying to establish its origin,” he said.From Birmingham Evening Mail and Despatch – June 27, 1966
Last updated on November 19, 2023